Posted on October 01, 2016 by Matt Pressman
As most of you are aware, Elon Musk is CEO of both Tesla Motors [NASDAQ: TSLA] and SpaceX. On behalf of SpaceX this Tuesday, Musk gave a breathtaking speech at the International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico. He unveiled his plans for making humans a multi-planetary species. And, some of the best in the industry were gathered at this conference. It was an incredibly inspiring speech and we've included it at the bottom of this blog post if you haven't seen it yet. That said, Musk, curiously, brought up Tesla during the Q&A session.
Yes, we all know Tesla launches like a rocket. But why did Musk bring up Tesla during his talk at the International Astronautical Congress? As reported in Inverse*, "Musk responded to an audience member’s concern that the company [SpaceX] only hired Americans." Musk explained the problem with international hires at SpaceX but went on to explain: "that this problem does not apply to Tesla, because the electric car company isn’t making rockets. Musk said that around 30 percent of Tesla’s engineering team is foreign nationals." Check out this video clip below for his answer.
Why can't Musk hire the finest international candidates to work at SpaceX? It turns out that, "Rocket science falls under International Traffic in Arms Regulations, which prohibits companies that deal in military technology (rockets and anything going to space included) from hiring foreign workers."
Musk explains, "I think people are a bit confused about this; unfortunately, this is not up to us, U.S. Government regulations make getting a job in the U.S. hard enough as it, but if you’re working on rocket technology, that’s considered an advanced weapons technology, so even a normal work visa isn’t sufficient unless you get a special permission from the Secretary of Defense or the Secretary of State... I wish we could do more, but our hands are tied."
Did Musk take this question as an opening to invite the world's best rocket scientists and aerospace engineers to work at Tesla? Hmmm... Tesla may actually benefit from this situation and be able to attract top international talent who'd otherwise work for Musk at SpaceX. Hard to say. In any event, I wouldn't be surprised if at least some stellar international talent in the aerospace industry come work for Tesla in order to help Musk achieve his vision — at least, his vision (for sustainable transport) here on earth.
By the way, if you haven't had a chance to catch any of the SpaceX footage from earlier this week, please check out Musk's astonishing vision for their Interplanetary Transport System (top video) and his full speech (bottom video) that he gave at the International Astronautical Congress below. If it feels like Elon Musk designed your Tesla to drive like a rocket ship, now you'll understand why...